Plant-based F&B claims have positive connotations for nearly three quarters of consumers globally, says GlobalData

When it comes to the product claims of food and beverages, transparency and highlighting plant ingredient inclusion is more likely to win over consumers than simply stating it is meat free or vegan. This is largely due to the association plant-based claims have with health and natural attributes, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 consumer survey, 71% of global respondents find plant-based claims to be somewhat or very appealing – as opposed to meat-free or vegan, which only garnered 42% and 39% of responses, respectively.

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Carmen Bryan, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “There is a clear disconnect in consumers’ minds between what these claims mean and the connotations attached to the definitions. This is largely rooted in traditionalism and culture. For some, the idea of ‘meat-free’ or ‘vegan’ may be associated with the abstinence of meat, whereas ‘plant-based’ has a much more positive connotation – the inclusion of vegetables and fruit. In fact, *39% of global consumers associate the term ‘natural’ with plant-based ingredients.”

This perception also ties into current health trends in food and beverages, with fitness and lifestyle influencers on social media popularizing a number of plant-based diets. Combine that with its perceived naturalness, and marketing teams are in for an easy win. But what about in the context of a global pandemic?

Bryan continues: “Health and wellness trends are central to much of the FMCG industry, and that has only became more evident amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which is seeing consumers change their diets to incorporate more immune-boosting products. For many, the option to drink a plant-based smoothie packed full of vitamins is an easy and tasty way to get their health fix.”

While vegans only comprise a small portion of the global population, the concept of flexitarian or low-meat diets is rapidly gaining popularity as a means of living a healthier, more ethically-conscious lifestyle without abstaining from one’s favorite meats altogether.

Bryan adds: “As Beyond Meat sets its sights on China, and Burger King launches its first ‘Vegan Sausage Breakfast Sandwich’, it is clear that meat alternatives are no longer the niche concept they once were. Plant-based as a marketing message capitalizes on the trending popularity of these diets and has wider appeal. Associations with naturalness, another trending claim, only adds to this further.”

*GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 consumer survey – global – *very/somewhat responses combined *2somewhat/completely agree responses combined

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